Ever since her 1993 singing debut, Brandy Norwood has always been respected as a nuanced R&B singer with skill and technique far beyond her years. Sure, she’s not a booming powerhouse like her idol Whitney Houston, nor does she possess a [seemingly] infinite range like Mariah Carey—but what she does have is an innate ability to weave her raspy alto into a web of complex harmonies and technical runs that sets her in a league, vocally, of her own.
Brandy’s unique timbre allows her the freedom to wrap her voice around a melody in a variety of different ways that many of her peers admittedly tried to recreate in their own recordings like India Arie, Chris Brown and Melanie Fiona to name a few.
With that being said, I cannot think of a more befitting song than 2002′s ‘Nothing’ to better exemplify Brandy’s proficiency’s as one of contemporary R&B’s most dynamic vocalists. Listen after the jump and sound-off below.
‘Nothing’, written by LaShawn Daniels (‘Tamar & Vince’) and produced by Uncle Freddy, is a lovesick ballad about missing someone and no one being able to understand the pain. It starts off mellow and lush before building up to an emotional climax lead by Norwood’s raspy contralto. As an expert technician in the studio, Brandy demonstrates her skill as a vocal producer by layering the verses with low bottom harmonies and her signature ghostly falsetto on top to create the feeling of vocal massiveness throughout—a signature that’s become her staple post-‘Never Say Never.’
Songs like ‘Nothing’ and the album ‘Full Moon’ represents an important time in Brandy’s career as it brought about what many consider to be her greatest body of work and most artistic era.